How Much Osmocote To Use In Pots For Your Plants?

Aside from consistent watering and sunlight, the best way to keep plants thriving is by giving them an extra boost with plant food. One of the best fertilizers is Osmocote, but many people are unsure how much to use in their potted plants. We were just as curious as they were, so we researched this topic to find your answers.

For potted plants, the suggested amount of Osmocote to use on an 8-inch pot is 1 teaspoon for indoor plants and 2 teaspoons for outdoor plants. With bigger pots, the amount will vary depending on the size. Hanging baskets measuring 10 inches in diameter will need 2 teaspoons for indoor plants and 1 1/3 tablespoons for outdoor plants.

Since Osmocote is a fertilizer, it is important to know the proper quantity your plants will need to avoid killing them. In this post, we will talk about the benefits of Osmocote. We'll also go through the different Osmocote variants you can use on your plants, so keep reading and enjoy this post!

How Much Osmocote To Use In Pots For Your Plants?

Farmer filling an Osmocote fertilizer into soil before planting. Osmocote is a controlled-release fertilizer contains a thoughtfully blended mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium., How Much Osmocote To Use In Pots For Your Plants

Caring for plants can be very rewarding, especially as they bloom and flourish to their best potential. Many plants are out there, and many homeowners enjoy having indoor and outdoor plants. It's quite easy to care for and maintain them as long as you give them adequate water and sunlight.

However, to ensure that the plants bloom and grow their best, you can give them plant food or fertilizer to aid their growth. One of the best fertilizers a lot of gardeners favor is Osmocote fertilizer. It is a controlled-release fertilizer that works with the plant's natural growth cycle. Typically, gardeners use Osmocote on prized flowering plants, vegetables, and container plants.

When you open a jar or bag of Osmocote, you will see small, round granules that look like peppercorns. Typically beige, these little granules are more aptly called prills. A beige shell covers these prills, containing a core packed with plant nutrients. Since the prills are heavily packed with plant food, you'll only need a teaspoon or two of Osmocote to help the plant grow.

Like any fertilizer, there are appropriate quantities of Osmocote to use on plants. When using this kind of fertilizer, it depends on the pot size you are using. When there is more soil in the pot, more Osmocote should be mixed in the soil so that there are enough nutrients for the plant to absorb.

Osmocote can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants. They can be used on container plants, shrubs or trees, and outdoor beds. For container plants, here are the quantities you should use depending on the size:

  • 8-inch pots: 1 teaspoon for indoor plants, 2 teaspoons for outdoor plants
  • 10-inch pots: 1/2 tablespoon for indoor plants, 1 tablespoon for outdoor plants
  • 18-inch pots: 2 1/4 tablespoons for indoor plants, 4 1/2 tablespoons for outdoor plants
  • 24-inch pots: 4 tablespoons for indoor plants, 8 tablespoons for outdoor plants
  • 10-inch hanging baskets: 2 teaspoons for indoor plants, 1 1/3 tablespoons for outdoor plants
  • 12-inch hanging baskets: 1 tablespoon for indoor plants, 2 tablespoons for outdoor plants

What Is the Best Way To Apply Osmocote?

adding slow release osmocote fertilizer granules in compost

Osmocote works differently from other fertilizers. The shell has pores that react to the temperature of the soil, which open up when the temperature is warm enough.

When the prills get wet, the water will slowly disintegrate the outer shell to allow the nutrients in the core to be released. They will then be mixed into the soil, and the plant roots absorb them via osmosis.

There are different ways to apply Osmocote to plants. Osmocote can be applied by dibbling, mixing, or topdressing it on your plant. While there is no specific rule on how to apply them to your plants, some gardeners swear that some methods are more effective. 


"Dibbling" the fertilizer involves putting Osmocote in the soil before planting. Typically, you will start by digging a hole for your new plant. Add soil and Osmocote to the bottom of the container and set the plant directly on top of this mixture. Cover the plant roots completely with soil and water them accordingly.


This method is best to use on plants that are due for re-potting. Mix the Osmocote in the pot by filling the pot with soil at least 2/3 of the way of the root ball. Add the Osmocote in a layer and fill the pot with more soil.

Alternatively, you can mix Osmocote and growing media if you plant in smaller containers. This growing mix can be stored for 7 to 10 days. Otherwise, the nutrients of the Osmocote will start activating in the soil. 


Topdressing is the easiest—evenly sprinkle the Osmocote on top of the soil. Use water to start the fertilizer's activation and help it spread deep into the soil.

What Happens If I Use Too Much Osmocote?

Osmocote fertilizer for maintain foliage plant and beautiful leaves.

One of the benefits of using Osmocote is its slow-release, controlled formula. The prills of the Osmocote fertilizer use a polymer coating that reacts to the temperature of the soil. When the soil gets warm, and there is moisture, the pores of the prill shells become bigger, releasing more nutrients onto the soil. 

Because of this slow-release formula, you don't need to add Osmocote to the plant all the time. One application can feed plants for up to 6 months without needing to re-apply. 

Sometimes, new gardeners or Osmocote users feel like the amount they put in their plants is too little. There are occasions when people do put more Osmocote fertilizer on the soil than what is necessary.

Fortunately, Osmocote is non-burning, so there is a low risk of killing the plant because of overapplication. However, some plants may be a little more sensitive to others, and you might find the tips of the leaves turning brown. This means that too much fertilizer is in the soil, and you may need to find remedies before it affects the plant.

Which Osmocote Should I Use On My Plants?

Alocasia Silver dragon in the black pot and put on cement background.

Different kinds of Osmocote fertilizers are readily available to use in your garden. They all have different formulations that can be specifically used on different plants. Both kinds are widely used, but because of their price, most gardeners reserve their use of Osmocote fertilizer. They prefer using them for fast-growing plants that grow from spring to fall or houseplants.

Osmocote Indoor and Outdoor

Check out this indoor and outdoor variant on Amazon.

The most widely used Osmocote fertilizer is Osmocote Plus, whose formulation is specifically geared towards indoor and outdoor plants. If you have a garden, a bag or jar of Osmocote Plus will help your garden bloom to its full potential.

Osmocote Plus has an NPK of 19-6-12. Osmocote Plus can provide consistent feeding for your plants for up to four months as the original slow-release plant food. The fertilizer's release time depends on the soil's temperature. The warmer the soil, the faster the plant will use the fertilizer. 

Aside from the usual indoor and outdoor plants that you may have, Osmocote Plus can also be used on shrubs and trees. It is also a great plant food option for roses and flowering plant beds. 

Osmocote Flower and Vegetable

Get this flower and vegetable variant on Amazon.

If you are planting more plants outdoors, this variant may be best for you. The Osmocote flower and vegetable variant is made specifically for these plants and their outdoor application.

Osmocote Flower and Vegetable have a very balanced NPK of 14-14-14. This balanced amount of nutrients will ensure that your plants have good top growth with strong, developed roots. This fertilizer will work beautifully for your garden vegetables because of their fast growth. This fertilizer is also great to use on perennials in your flower beds.

Pot Shots

Grab these potshots on Amazon.

Similar to the original Osmocote Plus, this fertilizer is specifically used on container plants. Pot Shots is a houseplant-specific product that makes applying this fertilizer easy. The fertilizer is made into a small nugget that you simply have to push into the soil, and they activate quickly with just a little water. 

These little fertilizer nuggets are already pre-measured to use on containers. One of the benefits of using Pot Shots is that it lessens the risk of over- and under-feeding the plants because they are already ready to use. Pot Shots also last for a long time—one nugget will feed your houseplants for up to 6 months, depending on the temperature of the soil in your area.

Final Thoughts

Farmer filling an Osmocote fertilizer into soil before planting. Osmocote is a controlled-release fertilizer contains a thoughtfully blended mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Keep your plants healthy and happy by boosting their growth with plant food. Although it can be a little expensive, Osmocote is a great choice for all kinds of plants in your home. They are easy to apply, and you'll find that they last long despite the price. Once you give your houseplants some love with Osmocote fertilizer, you'll find them blooming and growing beautifully.

Are you looking to learn more about fertilizer for your home garden? We have a few articles that may help you:

Does Potting Soil Have Fertilizer In It?

7 Best Fertilizers For Clay Soil

One comment

  1. I have Osmocote for my indoor plants. Currently I have a string of pearls in a self watering container doing very well. I’m wondering if I can add the Osmocote to the water of the self watering container and let my plant use it as needed. Do you think this will work?

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